“A Meat Locker in Hebron”: Meat Eating, Occupation, and Cruelty in To the End of the Land


  • Aaron Kreuter York University




In this paper, I explore the connections between meat-eating, cruelty, and the Israeli/Palestinian crisis in Israeli author David Grossman's 2008 novel To the End of the Land (translated from the Hebrew in 2010 by Jessica Cohen). Using the radical vegetarian-feminist theories of Carol J. Adams, I argue that in the novel, Grossman reveals how the Israeli nation-state's treatment of the occupied Palestinian people is part and parcel of the same ideological construct that allows its citizens to consume the flesh of dead animals; if a nation can eat meat, it can dehumanize and oppress its unwanted others. In particular, I look at a pivotal moment in the novel, where the protagonist Ora's son's military unit leaves an elderly Palestinian man chained up and suffering in a Hebron meat locker; I locate this event as the most important physical space in a novel preoccupied with space, land, and physicality. I also look at another example of a Jewish author grappling with the cruelty of eating meat, the Yiddish writer Isaac Bashevis Singer's short story "The Slaughterer." Finally, I interrogate the idea, put forward by Todd Hasak-Lowy, that Grossman is less concerned with the sufferings of the Palestinian people than he is the sufferings of the stoic Israeli, forced to make compromising moral choices.

Author Biography

Aaron Kreuter, York University

Aaron Kreuter is a SSHRC-funded Ph.D. candidate and a course instructor in the English department at York University. His dissertation explores Jewish North American fiction that takes Israel/Palestine as its subject matter. He is the author of the poetry collection, Arguments for Lawn Chairs, as well as the forthcoming short story collection, You and Me, Belonging.


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How to Cite

Kreuter, A. (2019). “A Meat Locker in Hebron”: Meat Eating, Occupation, and Cruelty in To the End of the Land. Pivot: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies and Thought, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.25071/2369-7326.40308